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Falling in Love with Natural Hair

By Megan Davis

The Truth Contributor


What’s not to love about autumn? The weather is near perfect, not too warm or cool; not much rain and no snow. Just a crisp breeze and a landscape that has Picasso and Van Gogh beat … naturally, of course. With a season so invigorating, it is a friendly reminder of how nature displays its beauty and welcomes everyone into its embrace.


Speaking of embracing, there’s another natural wonder to behold, Black hair! Natural hair, more specifically, and it is being celebrated more and more in 2018 since so many men and women are embracing the curls and texture of non-chemically altered hair. Falling in love with natural hair isn’t always an automatic thing. It has had to forego generational influences. Our mothers and their mothers and their mothers may have lived during the time when natural hair wasn’t accepted in society. That lack of acceptance was passed down through generations, leaving many in fear of what others may think about their natural hair.


If you haven’t seen it yet, there is a new film on Netflix called Nappily Ever After. It stars Sanaa Lathan, a black professional ad exec with a boyfriend who is a doctor. Every morning, she’d wake up before him to perfect her wrap, so her hair was smooth and straight, and she would even put on makeup before hopping back in bed and pretending she had been there all along. All of that was before breakfast!

I don’t know about any of you, but as Sweet Brown once said, “Ain’t nobody got time for that.” The character went through so many changes with her hair alone, which was heavily influenced by her mother, who groomed her to present herself as perfect in all ways, at all times. Every style she tried presented a new challenge for her. Certainly, many women can relate to her plight, because even in being perfect, there were still flaws and insecurities.


One of the things we often see now in social media, are style trends that salons around the world mimic to please their clients. With no disrespect, women may go into a shop  with “Celie” hair, seeking “Halle” results and it’s just frustrating for the client and the stylist alike. When did this happen? How did this happen?

Perhaps this all came to be when people traded their mirrors for smart device screens. Screens which showcase everything on fleek, slayed and laid to the gods while snickering and humiliating those who look like most people look every day. There’s not a lot of Hoteps online these days, those are the “woke” ones, instead, it’s the day of the viral video, meme, or quote. Culture has gotten lost in the shuffle, self awareness, too. Now men, women and children want to look and be as perfect as the media icons they follow.


So where is the love? It seems that every so often, we have to get back to our roots. We seem to keep straying from them as we get swept up into the newest of crazes. That includes hairstyles, even if natural. Those with locs, want extensions so they can feel more comfortable; those with Afros want silk presses so their hair is more manageable; those with braids have to feed in hair to ensure their neatness. Curls have to be shiny and soft; straight styles have to “last” and locs have to be perfect in order to be happy. All these things are wonderful, but are they realistic? Until we realize that natural hair defies gravity and responds to weather by way of swelling, shrinking, stretching or shriveling, we will always feel like our hair is inadequate.


Sanaa’s character, Violet, arrived at a point in her life that her “perfection” lead to rejection in her relationships, both personally and professionally and, after several failed attempts to arrive at a happy place, she decided to let go of just one of the things that was holding her back, her hair.

There’s possibly nothing more bold and simultaneously vulnerable for a black woman than shaving her head. There isn’t anything to conceal the shape of the head or to frame the face; no products to enhance the hair, no chemical to alter the texture, or pieces that can extend the length or thickness of the hair. That nakedness reveals everything from the good to the bad, and that is what makes going natural for some, a very difficult decision.


But for those who have taken the plunge into the naturalista life, there’s always a time in that journey, that you reevaluate your decision, wondering if it was the right thing to do or if your employer or significant other will accept your new look, and you question whether it was worth it at all or not.


Falling in love with natural hair is a lot like relationships, there are levels to it that come in time. If you’re struggling to love your hair, you may wish to consider some of the following tips for encouragement.


Court the idea. Before going natural, many say that they have contemplated doing so for months or maybe even years. Just like a dream husband, they look at pictures and imagine themselves in it, smiling and glowing and feeling sheer joy. Courting the idea also means trying on wigs, getting a weave or other style that mimics natural styles to preview how it would look on you. You begin to like the idea of being natural.


Take an interest. There’s nothing like entering into a new relationship with someone who takes a genuine interest in you. With hair, you have to be interested in everything that makes hair healthy, growing, looking and feeling good. You have to be curious as to what works best with your hair. This is an action step. If you’re interested, you’re researching what makes it work, what to avoid and how to maintain it.


Commitment. After flirting with the idea of being natural and taking an interest in what natural hair needs, you make the decision to commit to the relationship. This means, you are now willing to live each day with this hair, learning more about it, nurturing it, and grooming it into styles that are beautiful to you. Many people want commitment without the first two steps, but it’s very difficult to commit to something or someone that you haven’t considered or learned anything about. Flirting with ideas is one thing, committing to a journey together is a different level.


Embrace the difference. One thing about dating is that we come to appreciate the quirks, weird tricks and overall differences our mate has. It is even said that opposites attract. There’s nothing more truly said to a woman who has never been natural. Because of the historical and generational beliefs, that straight is the way, when it pertains to hair, going natural opposes what little girls were taught for years. If not the mothers before them, it has been evident in visual and print media. Natural hair itself defies gravity and does nothing that society, Grandmama or the slave master set forth as the standard of beauty. Embracing natural hair means accepting that it is different and requires a completely different practicum of care, styling and maintenance. It also means accepting things we cannot change, like going grey, balding or our natural texture.


Overcoming Disappointment. We all have read love stories or have seen them play out on screen. We have seen the picture perfect couple have life happen and sometimes tear their relationship apart. When disappointment occurs, and it will, many forget about the commitment they have made, and instead of embracing the other person’s differences, they become points of contention and frustration. When people go natural, once a bad hair day arrives, many are ready to throw the whole journey away. If you go on vacation, you may expect delays, traffic pattern changes, turbulence and even detours. But once you arrive at your destination, the journey seems so worth it. If we look at natural hair in this manner, falling in love with it, in and out of season, is possible.


In this fall season where everything around us is beautiful, it is the hope that when a person embraces her natural hair, that she sees the same beauty outside her window, reflected in her own mirror.




Copyright © 2018 by [The Sojourner's Truth]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 09/27/18 08:32:57 -0400.



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